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Toothbrushing May Strengthen Gums

It may seem contradictory, but the cell damage caused by brushing your teeth may help keep your gums healthy, U.S. researchers say.

Toothbrush bristles tear holes in the epithelial cells that line the gums and tongue, causing a momentary rupture, explains a team at the Medical College of Georgia.

Calcium (which is abundant in saliva) then moves into the cells and triggers internal membranes to move up and patch the holes, the researchers reported in the August issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

This repair takes a few seconds. During that time, growth factors that promote the growth of collagen, new blood cells and blood vessels leak out of the damaged epithelial cells. The injury to these cells also turns on expression of a gene that's often activated under stress and may be the first step in a response such as cell division or growth, the researchers said.

More information
The American Dental Association has more about cleaning your teeth and gums.

| Tags: Oral Care |

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